"Okay, give me the flag, Robbie." "Get your own flag, Bozo."
This is the sort of film that can be very difficult to review. On the plus side, the film is quite entertaining. I have to say that I enjoyed it and remained interested in it throughout the entire running time. On the negative side, however, I found it to be incredibly unbelievable.
It's about a U.S. Army general (played by Robert Redford) who gets arrested and is sent to a military prison run by a harsh and sometimes cruel colonel (played by James Gandolfini.) Even though these prisoners are not of military rank anymore, Redford seems to assume command of the prisoners much to the dismay of Gandolfini.
One day, a man who I guess is a strong-willed inspiration to all prisoners was shot in the head with a rubber bullet and died a tragic death. From that moment on, Redford demands Gandolfini's resignation and if he refuses, then Redford is going to take over the prison!
Not knowing what this movie was about before I watched it, there was a point when I thought this was going to be a remake of "Cool Hand Luke!" (There were a few occurrences that suggested that.) But instead, the closest movie that I can think of to this is "Heavyweights," which is one of those kiddie summer camp comedies. It's basically the same plot except the prisoners are replaced with kids and the sadistic colonel is replaced with a sadistic camp counselor.
This comparison is the reason "The Last Castle" doesn't work. "Heavyweights" works, despite the fact that it is unbelievable, because it is dumb fun. The prisoner-revolt plot in "The Last Castle," however, is still quite unbelievable and immature. To me, Redford appeared as if he was a little boy playing a game of war with his friends. That isn't always a bad thing for a movie except this time lives are at stake! The theme of this movie is supposed to be mature, yet I was constantly reminding myself how immature it is.
Despite this, the movie is nevertheless interesting. I was entertained, which is a function that all films can honestly only be expected to serve. However, if you like a little intelligence with your flicks, then I do not recommend "The Last Castle." The performances, for the most part, are good. Redford's and Gandolfini's performances can be summed up as above average. The supporting cast did a really good job as well. I doubt we can expect either of these gentlemen at the Oscars for their performances in this movie.
FINAL VERDICT: C+
It's an entertaining flick but too unbelievable and immature for its own good.
Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Burton, Delroy Lindo, Paul Calderon, Samuel Ball, Jeremy Childs, The Icecapades, Clifton Collins Jr., George W. Scott (not related to George S. Scott), Brian Goodman, Michael Irby, Frank Military (how appropriate), Maurice Bullard, and the original Broadway cast of The Phantom of the Opera
Don Ignacio's score: C+
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